2 Confusing Korean Verbs: Difference Between 배우다 & 외우다 

 November 14, 2022

By  Akshita Agarkar

Korean learners often get confused between these two verbs. Even though they are translated as To learn, or To study, there are a few things that one should consider before using them. Let’s learn the difference between 배우다 & 외우다. 

  • 배우다 – to learn 

Examples for 배우다 

  1. 저는 올해는 일본어를 배우려고 해요. (I am planning to learn Japanese this year). 
  2. 사람은 자신의 삶을 스스로 사는 법을 배워요. (A person learns how to live his life on his own.) 
  3. 저는 고등학교 이후로 과학을 배우지 않게 되었어요. (I stopped learning Science after high school). 

 

  • 외오다 – to memorize 

Examples for 외우다 

  1. 오늘 새로운 한국어 단어 10 개를 외웠어요. (I memorized 10 new Korean words today.) 
  2. 대회 하루 전에 연설문을 다 외웠어요. (I memorized the whole speech a day before the competition). 

Explanation:

Let’s take this example: 사람은 자신의 삶을 스스로 사는 법을 배워요. (A person learns how to live his life on his own.)

Now in the above sentence, if we use 외우다 instead of 배우다, it clearly wouldn’t make sense, as one can’t memorize to learn their life, but one learns, that’s how the phrase goes. 

So that’s what is the overall difference between 배우다 & 외우다. Hope it was clear!

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Akshita Agarkar


Akshita Agarkar graduated from Journalism and Mass Communication while working as a Freelance Content Writer. Currently, she is working with Learn Korean In India as a Content Manager and a Teaching assistant. She is a Korean linguist and culture enthusiast who loves to read linguistics, listen to old-school music, and jam on it.

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